Mike Valletta

Storyteller. Photographer. Traveler.


Santa Claus

Discover Christmas Village

Christmas Village is a family tradition for everyone in the region.

While so many of us have lost touch with the true magic of the holiday season, others continue to embrace it. The youth of our world today are certainly the ones that have become captivated by its essence, and that spirit can be seen so vividly at Torrington‘s Christmas Village. Christmas Village is a magical place, filled with wonder and excitement as families from all walks of life take time to visit with Santa and all of his helpers, including his reindeer’s. It is indeed one of the many gems that the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut has to offer.

The smile of a child’s face is certainly the true magic of the season for any parent, and at Torrington’s Christmas Village, your child will be gleaming ear to ear as they confide their Christmas wish list with Santa Claus himself. It is also here where you will be able to take a step back as you reflect on the vivid memories of when you were a child  and remember what it was like to wake up on Christmas day and discover all that was left under the Christmas tree. Christmas Village certainly brings back many memories for folks as it has been a family tradition around these parts for many years. Every year hundreds, if not thousands, venture their way to Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills to take the time out of their busy everyday lives and come to, not only unwind, but enjoy quality time with their family during the holiday season.

Once you arrive at Christmas Village, you’ll find yourself with plenty of company. There is often a line, sometimes nearly an hour-long, waiting to see a little bit of the North Pole right here in Connecticut. The line is filled with so many happy children who often enjoy a cup of hot chocolate as they wait by the fire that is lit with care, thanks to the wonderful people of Torrington who help to put it all together. The amount of people who are allowed inside at a time is minimal, giving children enough time to talk with Santa, though once your inside, you will have completely felt as though you have made your way into a Christmas paradise. You can’t help but to notice how the buildings brick structure is covered with Christmas cheer. Gift boxes, candy canes, ribbons, bows, and garland, all make this place feel a bit more special, though what really put this place all together is that magical visit with Santa himself. Walk into a room and see a jolly old man in a red suit with children on his lap as he sits by the fireplace and hands out gifts. It is here where the most memories are made.

The elves at Christmas Village are always hard at work.

After a visit with Santa, you’ll be able to tour this Christmas wonder and visit, not only Mrs. Clause, but also all the elves as well. Watch in excitement as they put together all of the toys for Christmas day. Not only that, but you’ll also hear the sounds of a train as a model train roams its way around by the ceiling. A truly inspiring place, even for those of us who aren’t elves, though something even more inspiring, and perhaps saving the best for last, is a visit with Santa’s reindeer. This certainly completes the night as you not only visit them, but feed them reindeer feed as well.

Yes, Christmas Village is a place that is an inspiration to all of us, and brings back so many wonderful memories of perhaps so long ago. It is a place that brings families together, and is also a place where many can rekindle those lost feelings as they feel the joy that the Christmas season brings as their children become delighted by all that they see.

To learn more, visit Christmas Village on Torrington’s website.

Skip the mall, shop Torrington

While shopping at the mall is always a holiday season tradition, shopping local is one as well and is often viewed as under the radar by many. There are so many great places right here in our own backyards, that many people tend to overlook these hidden gems and head for the mega malls of today. In Litchfield county, there aren’t any mega malls, rather smaller shopping centers, specifically in the Torrington area. We are truly the shopping mecca of Litchfield county with great places like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, K-Mart, Hallmark, and JCPenney. All of these great places are surprisingly right here in our own backyards, which means you won’t have to fight the crowds at the malls, rather stay in town and shop away!

While these places are great, as well as close by, Torrington also offers up some classic “mom and pop” shopping that helps keep the money right here in the community. As we work hard at revitalizing the community that we live in, this is an incredibly important move that we should greatly consider. Places like Brazen Betties, Remember When, Toy Jam, and Candy Bouquet work hard everyday to help keep our town running. These are our neighbors, and during the holiday season, we should remember these fine folks who serve our community in more ways than one. Recently, you didn’t even need to head out to the mall to see Santa as he visited Candy Bouquet and Reibmans, and pictures were proudly taken by Fazzino Photography of Torrington.

Torrington's Christmas House is a tradition for many.

After a fun night out of shopping on the town, you can really live the Christmas spirit as you visit Torrington’s Christmas House, right on Main Street, or The Christmas Village. The Christmas House is an amazing place that is filled, wall to wall, with Christmas cheer. You can’t help but miss it from the road as the Christmas lights overpower the entire block. It is, without a doubt, an incredible sight to see. Just down the street, you can bring the kids out to see Santa and all his reindeer as you enjoy Christmas Village. Christmas Village is a community tradition and folks from all over Connecticut, and perhaps the region, come to check out this replica of the North Pole. After a visit with Santa, and getting a small gift before Christmas, the children will be delighted as they visit with Mrs. Clause and the elves, not to mention all of the reindeer too.

Yes, it may seem that Torrington may not have a lot to offer, given our generally rural location, however once you discover Torrington, you’ll see for yourself that there is way more here than meets the eye. We might not be a big city. We might not have the fancy attractions of today. We most certainly, however, are fortunate enough to be doing things our own way as we are fortunate enough to have many creative minds here to keep moving us forward, and that is something to not only be proud of, but also give more of a reason to skip the mall, and shop local.

Torrington's Christmas Village

Santa Claus is coming to town

Growing up, December was always one of my favorite months out of the year. There was always an over abundance of joy in the air as we decked the halls top to bottom in our home for the holidays. I can’t recall a single square inch of that place that wasn’t decorated. With oversized Christmas trees in one corner of the house that lit up the room so brightly at night, it was hard not to imagine you were at the North Pole. Caroler’s adorned our house, as well as an array of garland, bows, and tinsel too. The scent of pine and cinnamon ran through the house, as well as all of the wholesome home cooked meals. It was a magical place that lit up my world and triggered my imagination to run wild, after all, what parent wouldn’t want their children to get lost in their imaginations? That is what the beauty of childhood is all about!

Besides our home looking like the North Pole at Christmas time, one thing I really looked forward to, more than anything, was the annual visit with Santa Claus. My oh my, I will never forget the way I felt inside when I saw that jolly old man in the big red suit, smiling ear to ear and his face all rosy red. It was a special time to have a little one on one with old St. Nick himself, as I secretly told him what exactly I was looking for under my tree on Christmas day. I’ll never forget the chuckles I got from him along with a little gift from the elves. 

All of this childhood magic was the December I have come to know and love today. Memories are created during childhood, and I am glad to have so many fond memories of this wonderful time of year growing up. Though I haven’t seen Santa in quite a few years, sources close to him have told me to stay away from the malls, because Santa is coming to Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, and he will have a photographer traveling with him as well. The photographer this year is Kimberly Fazzino of Fazzino Photography in Torrington. She will be embarking on a magnificent journey around Torrington with him as he travels from Riebman’s, on December 4th from 10AM-4PM, to Candy Bouquet, on December 11th from 10AM-4PM. Santa certainly has come up with a great way to come on out and support our local businesses here in the community.

Kimberly will be offering all kinds of great pictures you and your family will have to reflect on for years to come, from key chains to 5×7’s and framed 5×7’s. You simply can’t go wrong when you have this woman as Santa’s right hand gal, who’s love for photography is triggered by her creative imagination, which my guess was triggered by her month of December as a child as well.

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